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‘Historic Day for Our People’ – Afghan Says as Afghanistan Earns First Test Victory

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(Last Updated On: March 18, 2019)

Asghar Afghan, the Afghanistan captain, detailed just how important and joyous their seven-wicket triumph over Ireland was in the one-off Test in Dehradun on Monday, 18 March.

It was their maiden Test victory, in just their second ever Test – the latest feat by a team that’s made a habit of it. Apart from Australia, who won in their maiden Test, only England and Pakistan have secured a Test win within two matches.

Just how much the victory meant was summed up by Afghan. “Happy for today, it’s a very historic day for Afghanistan, for Afghanistan people, for our team, for our cricket board. We are very happy,” he said.

“When [we play] a lot of Test matches, we mature. Nowadays, we’re playing a lot in Afghanistan first-class cricket. Before, it was three-day, two-day cricket. Now we’re playing first-class cricket.

“It was our dream to play Test cricket. It was just our second Test and we won the game. I’ll give a lot of credit to our bowlers, especially Rashid Khan, Waqar (Salamkheil), Yamin (Ahmadzai), and (Mohammad) Nabi. They bowled very well, on a wicket that was good for batting.”

Apart from the bowling quartet, one of Afghanistan’s stars was Rahmat Shah. He put behind poor form in the ODIs – he scored just one half-century in five outings – to score two in as many innings in Test whites.

He was unfortunate to miss out on a century by two runs in the first innings, and having done the hard work in the second, scoring a 122-ball 76, he was dismissed with just three runs required to seal victory.

However, during the course of his knock he displayed good temperament for Tests, and that is something that bodes well for Afghanistan. “I’d like to congratulate the country for this win,” he said after winning the Player of the Match award.

“There was a difference in the pitches – the ODI wickets were suitable for spin, this was better for batting. I stayed at the wicket, that was important. We played session by session, and tried to win the match, but I’d like to give credit to the bowlers, they bowled really well.”

As for Ireland, there were some smiles, despite being beaten within four days in their second ever Test. Their captain, William Porterfield, reminded everyone that quite a few of their players were playing only their second Test ever while the rest of the team – five players, to be precise – were making their debuts.

Despite that, they troubled Afghanistan considerably, and had they been able to do better with the bat in the first innings, they might yet have been able to change the eventual result.

“It’s obviously the first innings that went wrong for us,” he said at the post-match presentation. “It was big toss to win. Any multi-day game, the first innings you got to capitalise on,” he said.

“If you had done that, batted remotely like we batted in the second innings, it could have been a completely different game. Then you’re talking about potentially chasing upwards of 280 to 300, which could have been a completely different story.”

But that being said, Porterfield wasn’t making excuses. Afghanistan bossed them with both bat and ball in the crucial stages of the match, and he gave credit where it was due. “Take nothing away from Afghanistan,” he said. “They played very well throughout the whole game, and came out deserved winners.

“You want the lads to kick on and make big contributions. We didn’t do that in the first innings. We’re obviously looking to come back into the game from that. Once Afghanistan got past us, they never really let us [back].”

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Pakistan to import coal from Afghanistan in rupees

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(Last Updated On: June 28, 2022)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has approved the import of coal from Afghanistan in rupees instead of US dollars, saying the move will help the country save precious foreign exchange.

Sharif on Monday chaired a meeting on improving the transportation system of coal imported from Afghanistan in the country, the Express Tribune reported.

He expressed deep concern over the rising price of coal on the international market, saying it was the main reason for generating expensive electricity from coal-fired power plants in the country.

“The coal imported from Afghanistan in rupee terms will not only generate cheap electricity but also help save the country’s precious foreign exchange,” Sharif said.

The prime minister was informed that import of coal from Afghanistan would save more than $2.2 billion annually.

Sharif also directed the Ministry of Railways to take all necessary steps to ensure prompt delivery of coal imported from Afghanistan to power plants.

The PM ordered the formation of a committee of all officials concerned headed by the defence minister to expedite the import process.

Esmatullah Burhan, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, told a press conference on Tuesday that Pakistan was a good market for coal exports, which should not be lost.

He said that revenue from coal exports under IEA rule were far higher than under the last government.

Ahmad Wali Haqmal, finance ministry spokesman, said tax on coal exports was increased to 30% from 20%.

The official said that until now coal was being sold at $90 per ton, but from now on it will be sold at $200 per ton.

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Four killed, 11 injured in traffic accidents in Badghis and Takhar

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(Last Updated On: June 28, 2022)

Four people were killed and 11 others were injured in two separate traffic incidents in northern provinces of Badghis and Takhar, officials said on Tuesday.

The incident in Badghis involved a Land Cruiser vehicle which crashed on the road between the provincial capital of Qala-e-Naw and Bala Murghab district on Tuesday morning, said Baz Mohammad Sarwari, the provincial director of information.

Four people were killed and eight others were injured in the incident, he said.

Those injured were transported to Kabul by helicopter, the official said.

The incident in Takhar involved a TownAce truck that ran off the road on Monday evening, injuring three people.

The vehicle was on its way from the provincial capital of Taluqan to Warsaj district when the incident happened, said Abdul Mobin Safi, a spokesman for Takhar police.

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Afghanistan leads world in negative experiences

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(Last Updated On: June 28, 2022)

Afghanistan in 2021 displaced Iraq from the top spot on the Negative Experience Index that the latter had occupied for the two previous years, Gallup said in a survey report released Tuesday.

According to the report, worry, stress and sadness soared to record levels in Afghanistan in 2021: 80% of Afghans were worried, 74% were stressed and 61% felt sadness much of the day.

No other population in Gallup’s 16 year trend has ever reported feeling this much worry, the reported noted.

Gallup said Afghans’ lives were already in a tailspin before the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) returned to power in 2021. Most Afghans were struggling to afford food and shelter, few felt safe, and they saw their lives getting worse with every passing year, it said.

Gallup surveys conducted in August and September — as the U.S. withdrew and IEA took control — reveal Afghans were losing the remaining joy that they had, the report said.

Afghanistan’s score of 59 on the Negative Experience Index was the highest score on record for the country and the highest score in the world in 2021. However, Afghanistan falls short of having the highest score on record for any country: The Central African Republic posted a score of 61 in 2017.

Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of IEA, rejected the report as “propaganda.”

“The reality is that after IEA’s takeover most citizens are feeling safe and have a sense of ownership and they are happy,” Karimi said on Twitter.

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